Kweendom, a New York-based LGBT comedy show created by writer and performer Bobby Hankinson, will kick off its first tour at the Black Cat in D.C. on June 6 at 7:30 p.m.
The show features a diverse lineup of queer comedians who share their individual experiences through onstage stand-up. Comedians include Gabe Gonzalez (Hosting on Scruff, Comedy Central, HBO), Calvin Cato (Oxygen Network, Sirius XM), Veronica Garza (MTV), and Jess Henderson (Huffington Post, Growing Down).
Hankinson, a writer and journalist based in New York, created the show in 2015 during what he calls a “crazy queer comedy boom” in the city.
“I was seeing all these shows and every one of the bills was 90 percent allies and maybe 1 queer person,” he said. “It made me feel like there was an opportunity there to show that there’s actually a lot of diversity to this community.”
Pulling off a show with an LGBT-exclusive lineup was a challenge, Hankinson said, but the show is now on its fourth year and has showcased hundreds of performers.
Kweendom aims to provide an inclusive area for the queer community outside of traditional “LGBT friendly” spaces. One, according to Hankinson, where you don’t have to explain “how Grindr works” or “who Troye Sivan is.”
“There’s something really special that happens when you create a space that’s not [just] an LGBT friendly space, this is an LGBT space,” he said. “The whole world is more alive and in color.”
Additionally, Kweendom will be donating 20 percent of the proceeds to The DC Center, a local organization that provides education and support for the LGBT community in D.C. In the past, Kweendom worked with Immigration Equality, which provides pro bono legal services for LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers.
“I wanted to connect with organizations that are local and on-the-ground,” he said. “I see the show as not just a celebration of the community, but a service of the community.”
This tour is just the beginning of Kweendom’s larger goals, according to Hankinson. Not only does he want to tour again, he is working on a book of essays from LGBT comedians and writers.
“We have this great community that we’re apart of and [I hope to] be able to share that more broadly,” Hankinson said. “I’m really hoping that this is the first of many outings to spread and get [the show] out there.”
All are welcome to the show, Hankinson said. “As a general vibe it’s welcoming and inclusive and friendly,” he said. “No one’s getting picked on in the audience, everyone is comfortable and here for it.”
Tickets to Kweendom are available online for $15 each.